We’ve had our solstice celebration. Every inch of the floor is covered with toys. We’re sitting among them debauched, watching videos because we have no more energy for play.

The house has been full of people who don’t usually live here. The noise level’s gone up, but the tension level’s gone down, mainly because one of the extras is the lovely Emma, always a ray of sunshine if often a sharp-tongued one.

Cooking for Emma I realize that my physical memory of keeping kosher affects the way I understand vegetarianism. I’m inclined not to put Emma’s cheese on the same plate as our meat, and not to cook Eila’s hotdog in the same pot as Emma’s pasta. I keep forgetting that vegetarianism is not magic, and there’s no problem with meat touching dairy or the mingling of microscopic particles.

In another vein, I have a word of advice for houseguests everywhere, but especially here. “No means no.” In other words, when the host says “please don’t do the dishes,” he might well mean “please DON’T do the dishes.” It might not be the case that he really wants you to do the dishes and is being polite. Dealing with some houseguests is like Lizzy Bennet dealing with Mr. Collins. They won’t take no for an answer. But around here (and I’m guessing around many places) we have our own way of doing things, and help tends to create complications that need to be straightened out later.


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